Betsy DeVos

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

The Education Department hatches plan to fix troubled TEACH grant

The Education Department plans to erase debt for thousands of teachers whose TEACH grants were converted to loans, after an almost year-long NPR investigation into the troubled federal program.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced sweeping rules on how colleges handle cases of sexual assault and harassment that she says will fix a "failed" and "shameful" system that has been unfair to accused students.

In an election that's largely not about education — polls and NPR's reporting says immigration and healthcare are two top issues — we wanted to focus on the places where education is influencing and mobilizing voters.

Here are our nine takeaways of what to watch:

1. Teachers are flexing their (political) muscles

With just days to go, both of the major teachers' unions have devoted their considerable resources to the election.

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

Report: Most schools now have high-speed internet access

40.7 million students have gained access to high-speed Internet over the last five years. That's according to EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the digital divide in American classrooms. There are still 2.3 million students unconnected, according to the group's most recent annual report.

This question came up again and again Tuesday during an at-times heated hearing of the Senate's education committee: Does the law allow schools to use federal money to arm teachers?

The federal money in question comes from Title IV of the big, k-12 federal education law known as The Every Student Succeeds Act. It's a billion-dollar pot intended for what the law calls "student support and academic enrichment."

NPR's weekly education roundup is back after a short hiatus. This edition features a longer list to catch you up on the news you may have missed over the long, hot summer.

1. Student loan ombudsman resigns, and slams the door

From the policy of separating immigrant families, to limiting the power of labor unions, to naming the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, this summer the DeVos family name has been all over the news.

Over the years, the parents, in-laws and husband of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have given hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes. And many of those causes are front and center of policy initiatives and goals of the Trump administration right now.

The U.S. Education Department is going back to the drawing board on some basic rules of higher education, including one concept that has been in place for 125 years.

The goal? Unleash innovation to better serve students.

On Tuesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fielded questions about school safety, civil rights and for-profit colleges during a congressional hearing about her department's priorities.

This week in our roundup, we travel from Arizona to the United Kingdom to the Philippines to bring you the education news.

Teachers in Arizona head back to class

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